Australia to introduce X-ray carcass grading

From next year onward, abattoirs across Australia will grade lamb carcasses using an objective carcass measuring (OCM) system.

This system will be delivered via the use of x-ray technology which can measure saleable meat yield, bone and fat.

Similar systems are expected to be trialled on beef carcasses next year with full scale introduction to follow soon after.

This innovation was announced recently by Richard Norton, Managing Director of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)


MLA has borrowed $150m on behalf of the Australian meat processing industry so that the OCM systems can be installed in 90 abattoirs across the country.

“The most important product of objective carcass measurement is the data it will generate – and MLA’s plan ensures that data will be available to all participants across the value chain.

“Once the first stage of objective carcass measurement is installed, both systems will provide valuable information for the supply chain including saleable meat yield, bone and fat,” Norton said.

Advantages of OCM:

  • Increased international competitiveness for a high cost production system
  • Improved decision making for genetics on farm
  • Reduce wastage at processing stage
  • Reduce injuries of factory workforce
  • Reduce costs of grading for industry
  • Increased data available to assist in decision making across the industry

The move is supported by both the Australian Competition and Consumer Committee (ACCC) and the Federal Minister for Agriculture in Australia.


This technology has been used for many years in the health and medical fields but recent research has shown that it can be used effectively in the red meat industry.

Norton said that data provided from the implementation of these systems will be shared with affiliated producers and processors to aid in decision making.

It is also hoped that further research and development of the technology can be used to enhance its application in factories.

Once installed these systems will be audited and regulated by AUS-MEAT, the quality approval body for meat processing in Australia.